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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  August 12, 2012 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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>> tonight, she is the secretary of state, wife of the former president and ran for the white house herself, but she is not hillary clinton. >> you survived two years of campaign hell, where does that leave our family? >> hopefully in the white house. >> she has a few things to say about real worldolitics as well. >> if you look at senators like patrick leahy or olympia snow, there so many individuals i admire. >> also my one-on-one interview with michael phelps. >> you want to be the best, you have to do things others are not willing to do. >> this is piers morgan tonight. >> as the olympics draw to a close, the games will be
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remembered for some of the most spectacular performances in history. michael phelps is a remarkable 22 medals in all, 18 were gold. we talked about the victories, mistakes both professional and personal. he speaks from the heart and holds back very little. >> michael, welcome. you said if you are ever tired, you get a bit grouchy and you can be very short. how are you feeling? >> i feel all right. >> grouchy and tired? >> not yet. maybe a couple of questions. >> you can answer the questions all day. then it will give me less time. >> i feel like a tape recorder though. >> london is my hometown. what is extraordinary is every american athlete i have interviewed, when i asked them about their role model, 90% said you.
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you are like a god-like figure. with that comes responsibility. are you aware of that? what do you feel about that responsibility? >> sometimes i feel it, but i like to think of myself as a normal person who just has a passion and a goal and a dream and goes out and does it. that's really how i have always lived my life. >> you said that before, but you are not a normal person. >> i consider myself normal. i spent 20 years in the pool. that's something that is normal. what do you consider normal? >> not spending 20 years in the pool. i spend about 20 minutes in the pool a day. >> that's not normal. >> what i am struck by is there were great athletes and great gymnasts and swimmers and so on. i have never seen anyone who did what you did and confirm the
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statistics. you trained for five years, literally every single day. 365 days, each of those five years consecutively. that is an incredible dedication to your sport. do you know anybody else who has done that? >> no. i never heard of anybody else who does that. >> what is the motivation at the end of the day for that extreme dedication? >> you want to be the best, you have to do things other people are not willing to do. at that point we had thought every year we had 52 other days of more training than anybody else gets every single year. in swimming if you miss one day, it takes longer to get back. for example, for me after 2008, i took six months off. it took me probably about a year to get back to where i was.
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where i needed to be and should be. >> when you were a little michael phelps, was the dream to be an olympic champion. huh other crazy dreams like being an astronaut or whatever. what were the dreams? >> wanted to be a gold medal record holder athlete. >> from what age? >> my sister was first in the nation at 14. i was 9. i got to 10 and i saw all e cool things she got to do like travel around the world and do this and that and that sounded cool. i want to do that. >> you have are the younger brother. >> we were all competitive. >> you play ball games together? >> i would try to. they wouldn't always let me play
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games with them. >> you are part of your family. try to describe what it means to be a great american. >> wow. i think for me to be an american is one of the greatest things in the world. i have been able to grow up with everything. the freedom and this is the greatest country in the world. throughout my career i have been able to travel overseas and represent my country the best i could. being able to wear the stars and stripes and step up on the blocks and step off of an airplane and you hear the national anthem play, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world.
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you know that there people at home who are supporting and watching you. the stories that i heard from people telling me what they were doing or where they were, watching races from 2008 i think it really shows how close we are as a country. it's pretty special to feel the support from all the fans. >> who are your sporting idols? >> michael jordan. >> why him? >> he changed basketball in my eyes. how on and off the court, the guy in my eyes made basketball what it is. i never met him. >> what would you ask him if you were able to meet michael jordan? >> i had that thought a lot. >> what's the thing that you are most curious about? >> part of me would ask him
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about what made him come back to the sport. what made him go to baseball and then decide to come back to basketball. i think one of the coolest things i love about him is it didn't matter what he had going on off the court or if he was sick or this or that. he never used it as an excuse. he came out every night on the court and did what he had to do to get the job done. that's what champions do. it doesn't matter what you have going o. you are there to take care of the job. >> one of the downsides of his kind of success and what you have enjoyed is you have become celebrities. you have become more famous than you were before. how have you dealt with that side of things? >> i will be the first to admit i made a lot of mistakes in my
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life. i think being able to have the opportunity of being a celebrity, it helps me achieve some of the things i want to do with the goal to raise the bar in the sport of swimming. i think one, people should learn how to swim just for safety, but two, try to get them involved in a sport. we have seen significant change over the last ten years, but in my eyes it can change so much more. >> when we come back, how michael hit rock bottom after winning gold in beijing. at purina one, we believe small things can make a big difference. like how a little oil from here can be such a big thing in an old friend's life. we discovered that by blending enhanced botanical oils into our food,
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>> more with michael phelps. the british tabloid ran a picture of him smoke pot. they suspended him from competing for three months. >> i remember when i was young, mark spitz winning his seven goals and feeling incredibly inspired by it. i wasn't a good swimmer then or now, but i remember feeling inspired to want to be mark spitz. he made swimming sexy for that generation and you have done the same thing now. you made swimming a sexy sport. you have taken it outside of the pool.
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with that comes this celebrity thing. you touched on making mistakes. to me, the mistakes you made are not massive mistakes. they were made to be apparent massive mistakes because of who you were. i remember the bond picture coming out and i remember saying really? this is a scandal of epic proportions and i saw the reaction and people getting sore with you and sponsors getting twitchy and so on and i thought it lost all sense of proportion. i saw a guy that all right, you probably shouldn't have been doing it, but i saw a guy who spent five consecutive years in a pool. probably just wanted to let his hair down. >> yeah, i mean like i said, i literally made a boat load of mistakes, but that's a part of growing and learning and becoming an adult.
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with every mistake you made, you have to pay the consequences that come your way. >> when you knew that picture was coming out, how did you feel? >> not too good. >> did you lose your cool? what is that feeling like? >> like the worst in the world. like the lowest of the low. i think it sort of just -- terrible. >> you said the worst thing was having to tell your mother. i can relate to that. i can imagine there is no longer a conversation. how did you get through that and embrace yourself for that? >> my mom has always been obviously how all moms are and are very supportive in their children. my mom growing up let us kind of see how we -- i guess choose the
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decisions that we wanted to. if we made those decisions, we had to live with the consequences that came our way. obviously she was disappointed in the decision i made, but obviously i learned from it and i will make a million mistakes in my life, but as long as i don't make the sammistake again. >> do you feel people overreacted? >> do you feel people overreacted? >> yeah, a bit. you set yourself up after beijing of an unbelievable achievement. >> people build you up and knock you down. >> a sheer volume of attractive women you would like to be associated with. >> i don't know. i try not to get myself in too much trouble.
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>> have you found you got more attractive the more gold medals you won? >> i think the biggest thing is you have to find who is real and who is not. >> how many times have you been properly in love? >> with what? >> i was assuming a woman. >> a woman, probably twice. >> twice in your life. >> had you been capable of proper love given the background? >> maybe. >> have you had your heartbroken? >> definitely, in high school. >> what was worse, having your heartbroken or losing a race you wanted to win? >> i think they are both learning experiences. >> i am trying to get to the age-old question about great champions.
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does it come before anything? does winning that gold medal repeatedly come above everything else? >> for me it's more about personal goals and things that i want to achieve myself. i know that if i prepare the best that i can, everything else will fall into place. >> do you think you will retire after this or is that a crazy question to ask? i remember our greatest olympic champion constantly retiring and getting back with the love of the gold. >> i'm retiring and i won't be coming back. >> that are is it. will you give up all competitive swimming? >> yeah. >> that will be it? >> uh-huh. >> will you swim for fun? >> i need to do something for exercise. >> is swimming still fun for you? >> it is. >> you can imagine doing laps for no reason? >> one of the biggest things after i do retire is now when i
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go to the ocean or the beach, i don't want to get in the water. i spend so much time in the water. it's like no. i will sit here on the beach and you guys have fun. i will sit by the pool and you do what you want to do. if i can look at my career and say i have done everything i ever wanted no matter how many medals and no matter how many records or this or that, if i can look back and say it doesn't matter. i consider my career a success. >> next a look at the michael phelps few people have seen. we're here at walmart with anita and her two daughters. is that your phone bill? sure is. let's see if we can go inside and save you some money on your plan. you ready? sounds great! can you tell them about straight talk? sure. with straight talk at walmart you get unmited talk, text and data for only $45 a month. but do i get the same coverage? oh yeah. it's on america's best networks. sounds great to me. well we saved you a lot of money, and your girls like their new smart phones.
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we have all seen michael phelps's side. helping children less fortunate than him. >> we are watching young americans. i know you do talks in schools and stuff. what do you say to get inside their heads? what have you found that can make a difference? >> one of the biggest things is
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i talk about how i got to where i am. a dream, a plan, and i reach for it. that's literally how i got to where i am. sure, i am human. that's literally what i try to get across to the kids. sure, my life has not been perfect. no one's is. i was raised by a sing mother and am able to kind of relate with them a little bit here and there. they see that and the cool thing is being able to one, hear the stories about things they have overcome and two, the changes they have been able to make. whether it's goal setting or eating healthier or whether they are water-safe. all of these things. when you see the excitement of them telling the story, that's the coolest thing in the world. like the best thing ever. sort of being able to try to get the points across.
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really just being able to show that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. >> there is a whole new side to you that i unraveled and found interesting. it was a lot of stuff that you do quietly. young swimmers that forever reason have not been dealt a lot of luck in life. this young boy who was a young swimmer and he became seriously ill. you devote a lot of time getting on planes to go and see him and encourage him and so on. me about this young man. >> the first time i went to a summer league meet to watch him swim. i was able to hang out and i was with his mom and i watched him swim. we were playing basketball and he would be fine and then get sick and then be fine and then get sick.
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i moved to michigan and i came back. he was just happy when he was able to sit and spend time. >> he had a form of cancer? >> yeah. he would just relax and kind of help him relax and get his mind off the pain. >> his parents have told the story of he suddenly took a dramatic turn for the worse and they contacted you. you got on the first plane you could. the plane was delayed and by the time you showed up -- >> i showed up at midnight and i had to turn around and go back home. >> you spent hours with him? >> yeah. he was asleep and didn't wake up at all. i sat there and just talked to him and held his hand and very shortly after he passed away. >> do you feel there is a side to you that very few people know? do you protect it? >> there things that are
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protected, yeah. >> just hearing you talk about stevie there and what you did for him and hearing his parents, you see a different side to the steely champion athlete. >> yeah. i mean there a lot of things that i would say people know about 90% of everything that happens in my life. the other 10% no one needs to know. >> there was a period your coach said he thought he had lost you. you stopped coming to training and sometimes you went six weeks. no one could blame you. you won eight golds and smashed all records. there was nothing left to train for. he thought really that was possibly it. what was going through your mind through that period? >> nothing. i was unmotivated. didn't want to do anything.
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didn't want to get out of bed or work out and had no drive and no goals. i had goals, but didn't want to do anything about them. unmotivated. >> do you feel now as motivated as you have ever been? >> i wouldn't say as motivated as i have ever been, but very motivated after going through some of the races that i have had happen and still don't want to lose. >> you have to win three to break the all time world record of olympic medals. is that the real goal. be honest. >> i actually didn't even know that was the number until earlier in the year and somebody brought it up. i have personal things that i want taccomplish and that's why i'm out there. i always want to do things that nobody has ever done before.
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just to be able to be in the same sentence with the olympic greats that are the best. >> if you were to win three and there is a high probability of that, you will be officially the greatest olympian in the history of the olympics. >> pretty cool. >> pretty cool? >> i'm laid back. >> you are the michael jordan of the olympics. >> i would have been able to complete everything i ever would have wanted. if i can look back at my career and say i have done everything i wanted no matter how many medals and how many records or this or that or whatever, if i can look back and say that, doesn't matter anything else. i consider my career a success. >> how would you like to be remembered? what happens?
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>> being the first michael phelps is the only thing. doing something that nobody else had done before. changing the sport for someone. that's what i hope to walk out with. >> all the very best. it has been a pleasure sitting down with you. i really enjoyed it. >> thank you. >> he said he is retired and he will include endorsements and a possible job as a commentator. he wouldn't mind appearing on "dancing with the stars." [ scratching ] you're not using too much are you, hon? ♪ nope. [ female annncer ] charmin ultra soft is so soft you'll have to remind your family they can use less. charmin ultra soft is made with extra cushions that are soft and more absorbent. plus you can use four times less versus the leading value brand. don't worry, there's plenty left for you dad. we all go. why not enjoy the go with charmin ultra soft?
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>> imagine a world where a first lady divorces the filandering commander in chief, loses to a less experienced rival and becomes the secretary of state. ridiculous, not quite that ridiculous, but that is the guilty pleasure. animals. who better to play that than sigourney weaver. she made over 40 films and grossed $4 billion worldwide. she played the toughest female character not to mention another long suffering first lady. sigourney weaver joins me. i wanted to interview you for a
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long time. >> i'm flatter and delighted to be here. >> the $4 billion woman. that must make you feel great. >> i didn't know so now i will know how to greet myself in the morning. >> that must be your calling card. resume, $4 billion at the box office. >> who are more do you need to know? >> let's talk about politics. this tv show everyone is going crazy for is very realistic. clearly most people assume it's loosely based on hillary clinton's story. do you agree with that? was that delivered in the back of your mind? >> if it was hillary's story, i wouldn't have done it as much as i admire her. as soon as i started reading it, i was hooked on elaine and her entire family. i think it is inspired not only by mrs. clinton, but madeleine albright. we had three very capable women secretaries of state, but not
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yet willing to entertain the notion of a woman president. >> why why is that? >> that's one of the things the series is trying to find out. when a woman says i believe i would be a good president, she is considered ambitious which in a woman is unattractive. it's one of the things that coming up in the show in an interesting way. >> do you think it will change? america is changing fast. all sorts of ways with gay marriage and all these issues. we are gathering great momentum. do you have like it may change. >> i suppose it could, but you sound more optimistic than i feel. >> there a lot of smart women around. hillary clinton is someone i could see being elected. >> i agree, but the fact is we are almost 51% of the population and 16% of the representation.
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the fact that women are not running for local office although it's changing, it's a great change. women are effective leaders and practical. we actually listen. we work together. we have a different approach to leading and participating and i think it's the kind of influence that would be very good to have in washington right now. >> you have a fascinating background. your father is an extraordinary character. nelson rockefeller's campaign manager before he created some of the world's most famous television shows. do you remember that period of his political life? >> i do because i was sent out into the street to campaign for rocky myself against nixon in the primary. when i was i think a teenager. i wasn't really aware of too much going on, but i knew that -- i still am very aware that rockefeller is the kind of
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republican we don't have anymore. the lefty republican. >> what did you make of nixon and your view of politics? >> my father told us a wife story. he had a story called make me laugh and decided for the first show to do it on capitol hill. i guess the third guest and they had different comedians pitching jokes and trying to take that meez guys laugh. nixon was the last 1 and they pitched a joke at him and the second joke and no response. then the third and nixon laughed. at the cocktail party, nixon said you know, pat, i didn't need to laugh but i thought i would do it better if i did. >> that's a great impression. >> anyway, i never forgot that story and my father who was a republican called nixon tricky dick every single time he referred to him.
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that made an impression on me. >> was your father quietly smug when nixon came crashing down? >> no, i think he was heartbroken for the country. he didn't want to see a republican be that stupid. especially nixon who is a brilliant man. >> it would be great to say america learned its lesson and politics clean up its act. right now you can see washington paralyzed and you see the emergence of what to me is surely a recipe for scandalous disaster. the super pacs being encouraged by the supreme court to go out under freedom of speech and try to buy elections. this can only end in tears. >> for doesn't make sense to me. it means you have the wealth to buy more freedom of speech than people who don't. to me it makes it such an unfair
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competition. and mean that is the special interest will be much more represented than the will of the people. i think that the people need us to be attentive. that's why i love playing elaine. she has a strong moral compass and a big heart. she is sort of not afraid to say what she thinks. >> sounds familiar. >> i wish and i admire elaine. >> let's look at elaine. >> elaine, your husband himself sent me to mexico to negotiate the release of those american citizens. >> that was mexico and two college students smuggling a lvo of pot. this is iran accusing innocent american journalists of being spies. those negotiations won't happen. >> it's a great line about why you took it. afteried salad for a couple of years, i took out my fork and
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knife and went for a juicy steak. this is the first big tv role. >> i think it's the best role i have ever had. we played this very eloquent passionate woman and she is so capable and then at the same time you drawback the vail of their private life and you are in the kitchen and living room and bedrooms of this family and as capable as she is in the world, she is as powerless as all the rest of the parent when is it comes to her own family. the families fall in love with them and i am part of a brilliant ensemble. the press person who is t to get me or out to become friends with me. we don't know which. >> do you have sympathy for pop politicians and do you feel more
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empathy with the pressures that go with that job? >> that's an interesting question. i don't think i do. no. >> that's a good answer. >> i don't think i do because i think it's easy to get subverted into all the polling. i think what we expect from politicians which we don't expect from shallow celebrities like myself is that they do speak truth to power and they are consistent and they have a real commitment to the big picture as thesee it. to see candidates changing their history and their point of view depending on who is paying for the ads, it does make one very cynical. when i was working on capitol hill as a student, i worked for a congressman and i was in charge of gun control. i was even then in spite of
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aliens, quite passionately pro gun control. this guy sent out two letters, to people who were pro gun control and a similar but different letter to those against gun control. it was so shocking to me. still is. >> do you see principal anywhere on capitol hill and do you look at anyone and say that is the kind of -- i interviewed justice scalia and he said he sees nobody in modern politics to compare with the founding fathers and the guys that created the federalist papers. it was a fascinating moment for me that this guy has been a justice of the supreme court for 25 areas believes there is a malaise in ability and principal. >> there is probably a malaise in the actual body politic, but i think if you look at individual senators like patrick leahy or olympia snow or chuck schumer, there so many individuals that i admire. i don't know why they can't seem
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to get things done, did you i know that senator snow is retiring because she said it was just too discouraging. >> how do you think president obama is doing? >> well, i think -- i thought it was interesting that he said he concentrated on policy. that makes sense to me with his character. one of the things that has come up with this show is to what extent any of these people are political animals. i have a feeling that for instance clinton, johnson, maybe nixon, some of these people were real political animals. i don't think obama is. >> more legal animal. >> i think he is policy. i think he is trying sincerely to get the policy correct to support people. it's a different kind of political animal that puts it through. >> i think that's the best observation i have heard about this because i keep asking
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politicians why the paralysis. that is probably why. you have to play the game in a smarter, more malleable way. slightly less principaled. >> i think you can take it personally. that's why i would make a terrible politician. you have to have a very thick skin and for instance, hillary clinton has done a remarkable job as secretary of state. i admire her so much and hope the show doesn't irritate her because it's not about her. we must be so thick-skinned to stay objective and diplomatic in these situations. gi down to washington to talk to congress men about the environment or in favor of the
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arts, etc. sometimes people say things that you could get into a fist fight about. you can't do that obviously. that doesn't help matters. i admire people who can manage to just continuously drive their message through without getting emotionally involved. >> let's take a break and talk avatars, aliens and all the other weird things you have been involved with. >> okay. . hey, i love your cereal there -- it's got that sweet honey taste. but no way it's 80 calories, right? no way, right? lady, i just drive the truck. right, there's no way right, right? have a nice day. [ male announcer ] 80 delicious calories. fiber one. i want healthy skin for life. [ female announcer ] don't just moisturize, improve the health of your skin with aveeno daily moisturizing lotion. the natural oatmeal formula goes beyond 24-hour moisture. it's clinically proven to improve your skin's health in one day, with significant improvement in 2 weeks. for healthy, beautiful skin that lasts.
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>> get away from her, you bitch! >> the film aliens, what was it like, aliens were a huge phenomenon at that time. you came out with the greatest lines. >> i was always the class clown and i much prefer comedy. i can't believe i'm in a serious television series although we try to get in as many jokes as we can. yes, ripley is a -- listen, i can understand, but she is not a barrel of laughs. i am still waiting for my comedy career to take off. >> i liked you in working girl. it was one of my favorite films actually. let's watch this. >> as such we have a uniform. simple, elegant, impeccable. dress shabby, they notice the dress. dress impeccably they notice the
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woman. coco chanel. >> how do i look? >> par look terrific. you might want to rethink the jewelry. >> i love that. you have another nomination for that; side from the extraordinary hair, that was a comedy. >> it was. i was so lucky i got to work with the great mike nichols as >> as such we have a uniform. simple, elegant, impeccable. dress shabby, they notice the dress. dress impeccably they notice the woman. coco chanel. >> how do i look? >> par look terrific. you might want to rethink the jewelry. >> i love that. you have another nomination for that; side from the extraordinary hair, that was a comedy. >> it was. i was so lucky i got to work with the great mike nichols as well. >> you moved on. "avatar," i went to see it in new york and did the 3d
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experience. i hate those kind of films. i never watch anything. horror and science fiction. i was transfixed by the cinema -- what do you call it? >> magic. >> it was like an experience. >> e mercyive experience. >> what was it like to make? i kept seeing clips of you guys in very pale rooms. they put you into this. >> you were in a big empty room and you were in a little black suit with ears and tails and a camera. in fact at that point the science fiction sort of paused because we were really just actors finding the scene and jim cameron had the round camera in which you can see what the camera looked like 7 feet tall and blue. all he would do is transformed the business so much.
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he would only have to capture one perfect master and then he could come back in without the actors there and through what the cameras had captured, do all the coverage. he would have to shoot one. it's amazing. i hope it's contagious and regular films can figure out how to do it as well. he is a genius. >> your father moved on and create the "today" show and the original tonight show. amazing badges of honor. he was running nbc at the time. is this where you got the love of the business? >> i think i did. he loved the business. he loved the people in the business. he especially loved comedy. he loved mixing berk shire and russell with a chimpanzee. it was a tough business. i think i grew up thinking it was a great business and knowing my father never got discourage
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and he did try to start a fourth network twice. he did pioneer the first cable television network and was put out of business illegally by the theater owners and got a lot of death threats. i could see it was a rough business as well. >> when you see 15 minutes of fame coming to reality, almost anyone could be famous for any kind of reason. does it depress you or bother you? does it diminish what used to be stars on pedestals? >> fame is the least valuable thing the successful career gives you. it's actually the one not to claim, but it's the one downside of being successful. what i think we have missed is that in the early days, we had so many great theater actors and so many international actors working in hollywood and there was much more of a live experience of theater. the public really adored actors and could appreciate what they
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did and their training and i think especially in europe, someone who could tell a compelling story and keep everyone calm or entertained. that's power and a talent. nowadays i think it's about making it look easy. it's very hard for the public to tell that it is hard. acting is really hard. it is challenging and takes years for a lot of us to get it right. how can they tell? how could they possibly tell that this is something noble? and difficult to achieve. >> your mother was english. i discovered literally seconds before we went on the air. very exciting moment from you. clearly all your talent comes from english blood. she went to vivian lee. that's a fantastic story. >> they're used to have to provide their own costumes.
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vivian was already married to a very wealthy man. my mother's mother would send her these hideous costumes made by the village seem stress and she begged her to let her borrow the next acts costume. it was like three different actresses would play three acts of the same character. >> the only thing longer or more successful than your career is your marriage to a filmmaker. 30 years you have been together. >> actually 28. my career is actually longer. >> and the business where divorce comes and goes like buses, how have you managed to avoid that? >> gosh, i don't really know. i think i was very luck to find someone as -- i think he is a brilliant man, a theater director. he understands what i am doing and why i am probably sometimes preoccupied by the work.
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he is from hawaii so he is filled with aloha and very supportive and has been a great father to our daughter. i have just gotten lucky and picked the right person. >> for has been a real pressure and thank you for coming. political animal at 10:00 on usa. a terrific show. it has been a delight to meet you. >> for me too. the capital one cash rewards card
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